Tributes have been paid to Founder and former Executive Director of Citizens UK, Neil Jameson, after it was announced this week that he has passed away.
Jameson played an integral part in establishing Citizens UK – ‘the home of community organising’ – founding it with a small group of Trustees and funding from the Barrow Cadbury Trust in 1989, and leading the organisation as Executive Director until he stepped down in 2017.
Citizens UK is known for creating the Living Wage campaign in 2001, which Jameson helped to launch, and for its social justice work. Today, the charity has a membership network of 550 civic organisations across 17 chapters around the country. Organisations develop their own local agendas whilst uniting around campaigns across the country.
Jameson first started organising in Bristol in 1988, following 20 years of working for Coventry and Somerset local authorities and two children’s charities. In Bristol, he built and launched Communities Organised for a Greater Bristol (COGB), before moving to London where he helped to build The East London Citizens Organisation (TELCO), and established a London headquarters for Citizens UK. He was appointed its first Executive Director in 2000.
Matthew Bolton, Executive Director of Citizens UK said:
“Neil was a visionary who had the courage and skills to bring community organising to the UK. Neil led Citizens UK from humble beginnings to national prominence and influence today. He helped to launch and sustain the real Living Wage movement, pursued and curbed the power of pay-day lenders and challenged government policy on asylum and refugees to open up legal routes for child refugees.
“Neil’s vision and pioneering work led to tens of thousands of active citizens campaigning for change across the UK and this is a legacy that goes from strength to strength. Neil offered communities a method for listening, building power and public action, which in turn strengthened relationships across civil society and made our democracy stronger. We will honour his legacy with public celebration in due course but today, we pause to thank Neil for all the foundations he laid, the lives he touched and the achievements he set in motion.”
Among the tributes on social media, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said that Jameson was “tireless in campaigning for social justice and his commitment and passion improved the lives of thousands of Londoners across our city.”
The Tower Hamlets Green Party described him as: “a tireless campaigner for the Green Party and for numerous causes throughout the country.”
And Chief Executive of Trust for London Manny Hothi called him ‘a true giant of UK civil society’.